Friday, December 19, 2008

ALLTP releases Motion F5 Tablet PC video

I am excited to announce that we have released the first in a series of tablet pc videos. Because tablet pcs just aren't available in stores, we have long had a 48 hour demo program. Now, we are taking the next step to make it easier for you to make a purchasing decision by giving the opportunity to see videos of several different tablets. Now you can decide which is best, or at least which ones aren't a good fit, simply by watching a short video.

Please enjoy and let us know your thoughts. Your feedback is very important! And if you REALLY like it, please go to YouTube and give us a nice rating.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Motion Tablet webinar - save $500 off a new tablet

Motion Computing and Allegiance Tablet PC Experts are sponsoring a webinar on December 10th at 11am CENTRAL STANDARD TIME.

Topic: Motion Tablets, Designed to Improve Field Mobility

Date: Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Time: 11:00 am, Central Standard Time

If you attend the full webinar (about an hour), you will get a code that entitles you to $500 off a new Motion Tablet PC (LE1700, F5 or C5).

IMPORTANT: Motion also has a promotion until the end of the year giving people $200 off Motion LE1700 tablets with the UltraView display - YOU CANNOT COMBINE THESE DISCOUNTS.

Sign up here: https://motioncomputing.webex.com/motioncomputing/j.php?ED=111603087&RG=\1

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Benefits of Acronis True Image on your Motion Tablet

If you own a Motion LE1700 Tablet PC, you own this software:

With the introduction of Acronis True Image 10.0 Home, you are provided with four backup products in one.

Our original disk imaging backup option, which enables you to create an image of your entire hard disk drive, including the operating system, applications, user settings, and all data. Use the image to restore your PC to a known working state without any reinstallation.

A new file-based backup option, which enables you to back up and restore individual files and folders, like your My Documents folder, your music, video and photos or some specific file, like your latest tax return. A wizard walks you through all of the steps.

You can back up your applications settings. If an application seems to malfunction or ceases to run you are supposed to reinstall it using the last updates and then recover your settings from the backup. The list of supported applications will be gradually built up. Updates will be available with new program builds or via the Internet. For Instant Messengers, the program will back up both settings and history.

Acronis True Image 10.0 Home offers a straightforward way to back up messages, accounts and settings for Microsoft Outlook 2000, 2002, 2003 and Microsoft Outlook Express. It preserves your e-mails, contacts, calendar, tasks, notes, signatures, news folders, e-mail rules and user settings with just a few mouse clicks.

Acronis True Image 10.0 Home is intended for use at home and in the home office. It is a tool that enables you to protect and recover data on your PC. Its easy-to-use wizards walk you through the steps required to protect and recover your data, including:

  • Creating bootable media (floppy disks, CDs, or flash drives), which will enable you to start your computer when the operating system becomes unstable and you cannot boot your machine
  • Creating and scheduling the backup procedure to protect all the information stored on your system and backing up specific files and folders, like your My Documents folder or your most recent tax return
  • Recovering your data in case of a system failure

There are several exclusive features of the Acronis True Image 10.0 Home software that distinguish it from other products:

  • Provides multiple backup options in one product - our original disk imaging backup option allows you to protect your entire PC, and our backup options allow you to protect your music, photos, videos, email and application settings
  • Supports Microsoft Vista, so you can safely upgrade to this new operating system
  • Allows you to create backup rules, so you do not have to worry about managing your backups
  • Enables you to receive e-mail notifications on your backup status, so you have peace of mind knowing your PC is protected
  • Find specific files by exploring backup files
  • Use your system during a recovery with the Acronis Active Restore feature
  • Save data to special partition on your hard drive, the Acronis Secure Zone. There is no need to purchase an extra hard drive, CDs, or DVDs to protect your data. This is especially useful for notebook computers
  • Restart your computer by hitting the F11 key in case you computer does not boot correctly with the Acronis Recovery Manager. Even if your operating system has been deleted, the Acronis Recovery Manager can boot your computer
  • Run backups while you are using your computer
  • Restore your entire PC in minutes, including the operating system, applications, and user settings without reinstallation of any software
  • Automate backups on a regular basis by creating a schedule
  • Walks you through each task so that you don't need to be a computer expert to use it

Monday, November 10, 2008

Conventional hard drive vs. Solid state drive: Which should you buy?

As more tablet PCs come with optional Solid State Drives, I've wondered and been asked if there is a significant advantage that justifies the current cost delta between SSDs and convential hard drives. Wikipedia provides a great answer which I've summarized below.

Advantages

  • Faster start-up, as no spin-up is required
  • Typically, fast random access for reading, as there is no read/write head to move
  • Extremely low read latency times, as SSD seek-times are orders of magnitude lower than the best current hard disk drives
  • In applications where hard disk seeks are the limiting factor, this results in faster boot and application launch times
  • Extremely fast write
  • No noise: a lack of moving parts makes SSDs completely silent
  • For low-capacity flash SSDs, low power consumption and heat production when in active use, although high-end SSDs and DRAM-based SSDs may have significantly higher power requirements
  • High mechanical reliability, as the lack of moving parts almost eliminates the risk of mechanical failure
  • Ability to endure extreme shock, high altitude, vibration and extremes of temperature: once again because there are no moving parts. This makes SSDs useful for laptops, mobile computers, and devices that operate in extreme conditions.
  • Larger range of operating temperatures. Typical hard drives have an operating range of 5-55 degrees C. Most flash drives can operate at 70 degrees, and some industrial grade drives can operate over an even larger temperature range.
  • Relatively deterministic read performance: unlike hard disk drives, performance of SSDs is almost constant and deterministic across the entire storage. This is because the seek time is almost constant and does not depend on the physical location of the data, and so, file fragmentation has almost no impact on read performance.
  • For low-capacity SSDs, lower weight and size: although size and weight per unit storage are still better for traditional hard drives. When failures occur, they tend to occur either 'on write', or 'on erase', rather than 'on read'. With traditional HDDs, failure tends to occur 'on read'. If the drive detects failure on write, data can be written to a new cell without data loss occuring. If a drive fails on read, then data is usually lost permanently.

Disadvantages

  • Cost – as of mid-2008, SSD prices are still considerably more costly per gigabyte than are comparable conventional hard drives: consumer grade drives are typically USD 2 to 3.50 per GB for flash drives and over USD 80 per GB for RAM-based compared to less than USD 0.15 per gigabyte for hard drives.
  • Capacity – currently far lower than that of conventional hard drives
  • DRAM based SSDs have a higher vulnerability to abrupt power loss.
  • Limited write (erase) cycles – flash-memory cells will often wear out after 1,000 to 10,000 write cycles for MLC, and up to 100,000 write cycles for SLC
  • Slower write speeds – as erase blocks on flash-based SSDs generally are quite large (e.g. 0.5 - 1 megabyte), they are far slower than conventional disks for random writes and therefore vulnerable to write fragmentation, and in some cases for sequential writes. SSDs based on DRAM do not suffer from this problem.
  • Lower storage density – hard disks can store more data per unit volume than DRAM or flash SSDs, except for very low capacity/small devices.
  • Higher power consumption – at idle or under low workloads laptop battery runtimes decrease when using an SSD over a 7200 RPM 2.5" laptop hard drive, flash drives also take more power per gigabyte. RAM based SSD require more power than hard disks, both operating and when turned off.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Lenovo adds 128Gb SSD AND cuts prices

As usual, I don't learn anything on my own from our vendors, but from our wonderful customers. A gentleman called me today wanting to buy a Lenovo X200 Tablet PC and informed me that Lenovo had slashed the prices on the SSD drives. I went out to their website and found that not only had they cut the price of the 64Gb SSD in half ($249 from $499) but had also added a 128Gb SSD for only $499. They indicate that the sale is through December 1st.

If you want to configure a Lenovo X200 Tablet PC, you can do that here. Keep in mind that when you order from Allegiance Tablet PC Experts, we only collect sales tax in Pennsylvania.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Motion Computing’s “Tell Us Your Story Campaign” Demonstrates How Tablet PCs Are Changing The Way People Work

Motion is accepting entries for the “Tell Us Your Story” campaign through Dec. 19, 2008.

Visit http://www.motioncomputing.com/promotions/index.asp to access the entry form or read winner submissions.


AUSTIN, TX – Oct. 30, 2008 – Motion Computing®, a leader in mobile computing and wireless communications, announced today that its recently launched “Tell Us Your Story” campaign is confirming that tablet PCs are improving the way mobile users are conducting business. End-users around the world are responding with their own unique examples of how Motion’s tablet PCs have improved productivity and mobile workflows.

Kicked-off on Oct. 6, 2008, the campaign encourages both end-users and resellers to submit stories about how Motion tablets have improved they way they work.

Kevin Kauffman, senior application development specialist with Penn National Insurance reported that Motion tablet PCs have helped the provider of property-casualty insurance and surety bonds improve productivity by enabling representatives to complete more surveys in less time and improve data accuracy through the ability to directly input information into the tablets while in the field.

“Using Motion tablet PCs has helped Penn National Insurance create a totally automated process that reduces time and expenses, streamlines workflows, and equips representatives to become risk management consultants through the availability of real-time data,” said Kauffman. “After our initial success with the tablets, we are now well-positioned to pursue additional mobile projects for even more value.”

Michael Devenjin, IT manager with Macadam, an automotive services company in Belgium that provides vehicle assessments for leasing companies across Europe, reported that Motion tablet PCs have replaced paper-based processes, resulting in an 18 percent productivity improvement. Assessors now provide repair costs while at the customer site and have further enhanced customer service through the added ability to reroute assessors in real-time based on their location.

“Macadam differentiates itself from competitors by providing service and gathering necessary information on site,” said Devenjin. “Using the tablet PCs in the field improves documentation accuracy and has turned a highly inefficient, paper-based process into a streamlined process that improves productivity and more importantly, helps us further differentiate from our competitors through an enhanced level of customer service.”

Motion has received entries from across a variety of industries, including education, legal, healthcare and technology; a testimony to the depth and breadth of tablet PC usability. Both Motion resellers and end-users are reporting a reduction in paper use, improved productivity through the immediate electronic documentation of data, improved customer service and improved mobile efficiency.

“Motion is excited about the opportunity to gather feedback from our customers and partners about unique applications, workflow improvements and productivity benefits,” said Mike Stinson, vice president of marketing, Motion Computing. “We have focused our products on the needs of mobile workers in a variety of vertical markets and are pleased to learn details of the positive impacts tablet PCs have across industries and geographies.”

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Save almost $1,000 on Lenovo X200 Tablet PC bundles

Lenovo only sells their TopSeller models through resellers like Allegiance Tablet PC Experts. These are preconfigured bundles that cannot be modified. Usually, they are a little better deal than what is available on the Lenovo website. When the Lenovo X200 Tablet PC was released, we posted the TopSeller models on our website. Then a customer advised us that the difference between one particular model, the 7449EKU, was almost $1,000 less than if he had ordered it as a Build To Order on Lenovo's website. I didn't believe it until I tried it myself.

Here is a screen capture of the configuration from Lenovo's website:



You can buy the same exact configuration from us for only $2,199:

Allegiance Tablet PC Experts Lenovo TopSeller 7449EKU

Doubtful this could be true? I would be too. Here is a link to the IBM/Lenovo website that shows all the configs for their computers:

IBM/Lenovo Personal Systems Reference for ThinkPad Notebooks

Using the bookmarks on the left side, go down to the tab for ThinkPad X200 Tablet (7449) - TopSeller. You'll see this:



The second TopSeller (744988U) has similar savings. Here is the Lenovo BTO shopping cart:



Versus a price of just $1,949 on our website:

Allegiance Tablet PC Experts Lenovo TopSeller 744988U

These TopSeller configuration have the same delivery time of 2-3 weeks. Keep in mind that since Allegiance only has an office in Pennsylvania, that is the only place where we are obligated to collect sales tax. The tablet will have to be shipped to use first and then sent to you but for the cost of around $45 in shipping you can get a heckuva deal.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tablets in the Classroom

WIPTE is the Workshop on the Impact of Pen-Based Technology on Education. Their annual conference will be held on October 16-18 this year and if you are in the area of Purdue University, you can get more information here.

Here is some more information from the WIPTE website:

WIPTE is open to anyone with an interest in instructional technology. A wide variety of disciplines are embracing Tablet PC's and similar pen-based devices as tools for the radical enhancement of teaching and learning. This conference is intended to leverage this shared passion and to identify best practices in the educational use of pen-based computing so that all educators may benefit from this next generation of technology. Each WIPTE paper presentation includes an assessment component as an important part of the presentation. The WIPTE program also includes keynote talks, poster presentations, vendor booths, panels, and special sessions.

Searching through the website, I found a couple cool videos. They look like they are definitely "sponsored" productions but interesting nonetheless.

This video shows how teachers and students at Forest Ridge of the Sacred Heart are using the digital organizer, OneNote 2007, tablets, and digital textbooks to change and enhance learning.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Hands-free interaction with your Web-based applications

Check out a demonstration of EverSpeech Maple, a product that gives you hands-free interaction with your tablet at www.everspeech.com/demos. Your feedback is much appreciated.

Here is some information from the company.

EverSpeech Maple provides speech recognition and synthesis solutions for Web-based applications. Our product:
  • improves productivity
  • reduces errors
  • increases functionality and usability
  • frees up one or both hands

Our standards-based approach supports open architecture solutions or your applications.

Features of EverSpeech Maple:

  • Integrates with Internet Explorer as an add-on
  • Speech enables standard Web pages for effective voice interaction
  • Optimizes speed and accuracy with a small number of additional tags and attributes
  • Integrates with other input modalities such as pen, touch, mouse, keyboard, etc.
  • Integrates with any back-end Web technology such as JSP, ASP, PHP, etc.
  • Integrates with any database such as MySQL, Microsoft SQL, etc.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Case Study: Pro-Teck Tailored Waste Solutions





Pro-Teck Tailored Waste Solutions in New Haven, Connecticut, is an established leader in the field of transportation and disposal solutions. It has an extensive transportation network throughout the Northeast region of the United States, with jobs as small as five gallon pails up to thousands of tons of soil.

When Pro-Teck’s financial administrator, Peggy Manalis, was asked to come up with a better tracking system for the company’s fleet of trucks, she turned to her IT consultant for help. And her IT consultant strongly recommended the tablet computer.

An Internet search led Manalis to Allegiance Tablet PC Experts. Once she spoke with John Hill, she knew Pro-Teck was heading in the right direction. “Not only was the price right, but John Hill was incredibly helpful and responsive – he was able to answer all of our questions and point us in the right direction.” Manalis found that the ordering experience was “fabulous, very easy. I spoke with John on the phone and he helped me with everything.”

Pro-Teck started with one tablet computer in December ’07, and now they have three. With Active Ink software, all of the company’s forms are right on the tablet. As Manalis notes, “Everything is automatic now – information can be input and e-mailed to the office immediately. This has cut down on the hours it used to take to fill out all of the forms -- it has been a tremendous time and money saver.” Pro-Teck has already recommended tablet computers and Allegiance Tablet PC Experts to several other companies. The tablet is helping to take business up to the next level.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Case Study: Cascade Women's Health


Cascade Women’s Health group’s philosophy is to provide gynecological and obstetrical care in a “user-friendly” environment. To that end, this Ohio practice services patients the “old-fashioned” way.

When you call the office, you don’t get a computer, you get a helpful person on the other end of the line. The office staff has been able to continue that almost-forgotten service by saving time in other areas, through the use of modern technology.

Cascade’s practice administrator, Nancy H., explains that the office became much more efficient three years ago, when the staff and providers began using Motion tablet computers.
Everyone especially loves the size of the tablets – they are small and lightweight, but still support all of the practice’s needs. All of the providers carry the tablets from room to room while they see their patients, and all information is entered into the tablet before each patient has walked out of the door.

The providers write their notes and prescriptions, and they even order lab work, right on the tablets. The office also has tablets at the patient check-out windows, and the providers carry the tablets with them to the hospital and to their homes.

Since Cascade began working with John Hill and Allegiance Tablet PC Experts, the office has been moving forward in its technology and efficiency, while not moving backwards in the realm of customer service. Talk with Nancy, and she’ll highly recommend the technology – and you WILL be able to talk with her, because real people answer the phone at this practice!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

TabletKiosk® Introduces the Eyesboard™

TabletKiosk® Introduces the Eyesboard™: Its New On-Screen, Virtual Keyboard

TORRANCE, CA, September 8, 2008 — TabletKiosk®, a leading manufacturer of Tablet PC and Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC) computing solutions, continues to improve the slate-style Tablet PC user experience by including the Eyesboard™ on-screen virtual keyboard on all of its systems as well as offering it as a free download for existing TabletKiosk Tablet PC and UMPC owners.

The Eyesboard, created by PlazaLOGIC, is an on-screen, virtual QWERTY keyboard, that enables users to type directly on the screen with their fingers or a stylus. Sporting a realistic "3D" look, multiple language options, easy size adjustment, choice of colors, and optional settings — including opacity, "snapable" palettes, menu buttons and sound effects — the Eyesboard virtual keyboard is highly customizable to best fit each user’s unique needs.

“Given that touch screen kiosks with virtual keyboards are now commonly used in airports and retail stores, today’s Tablet PC owners are more familiar with the idea of on-screen typing,” said Martin Smekal, president of TabletKiosk. “By including the Eyesboard as a standard feature on all of our tablets, we believe that we have greatly improved the overall mobile computing experience.”

The Eyesboard virtual keyboard looks and behaves like an actual computer keyboard with its traditional QWERTY key layout, separate numeric keypad and accessible function keys. To maximize screen real estate, the Eyesboard is fully user resizable, and capable of docking or minimizing to the taskbar—so that the keyboard is always accessible even when editing a full size document. It also features adjustable opacity settings to allow whatever is below it to be completely hidden or partially visible. In addition, the Eyesboard virtual keyboard conveniently appears at the Windows Log-In screen for easy password input, but runs with restricted functionality to maintain system security.

“The inclusion of the Eyesboard virtual keyboard for on-screen typing absolutely enhances the usability of our Sahara Slate PC® and eo® Ultra-Mobile PC systems, especially for those users new to the platform,” said Martin Smekal. “The Eyesboard is the perfect complement to the slate Tablet PC form factor because it provides an extremely familiar method of entering text without adding extra components or weight.”


About TabletKiosk®

TabletKiosk is a registered trademark and wholly owned subsidiary of Sand Dune Ventures Inc., a privately held technology incubator. The company produces slate-style Tablet PCs and Ultra-Mobile PCs marketed and sold through an authorized reseller channel and directly through its website. For more information, visit www.tabletkiosk.com.


About PlazaLOGIC

PlazaLOGIC Ltd. Is a software design company that specializes in developing solutions for Tablet PCs, Ultra-Mobile PCs and touch screen computers. For more information, visit www.plazalogic.com.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Motion Computing F5 now has USB/Ethernet available

FINALLY!

While the F5 is a great rugged tablet, not having a USB port has been an issue for appraisers who want to import digital pictures, pharmaceutical companies that use Network Security Tokens for authentication and anyone else who needs a way to get info in and out of their tablet without a docking station.

Motion recently announced a solution and here is the text of the press release:


Motion Announces New Offerings for its Most Rugged Tablet PCs

Smart card reader and EasyConnect USB/Ethernet module improve the usability and enhance security options for the F5 Mobile Field Tool and C5 Mobile Clinical Assistant

AUSTIN, TX – September 3, 2008 - Motion Computing®, a leader in mobile computing and wireless communications, today announced the availability of two new options that improve the usability and security of the F5 Tablet PC and C5 Mobile Clinical Assistant (MCA). The new smart card reader enables companies to improve the security of critical data by enhancing authentication processes. Additionally, the EasyConnect USB/Ethernet module allows for easy connection to other devices or local area networks (LAN), without sacrificing the durability and protection offered by the fully sealed, protective design of the rugged tablet PCs.







The optional, integrated smart card reader, manufactured by ITG OMNIKEY® supports both Windows® XP and Vista® operating systems and features an ExpressCard™ interface, a transmission speed of 12 Mbps, and the highest reading performance rate on the market today. Additionally, the EasyConnect USB/Ethernet module is lightweight, easily connects to the devices’ docking connector, and features one 2.0 USB port and one 10/100 Ethernet port.
In addition to the new technology options, Motion® is announcing the new F5 Display Protection Plan (DPP). Now, in addition to the F5’s industry-leading, three-year, field-ready warranty that covers damage from short drops (approx. 30 inches) and ordinary course exposure to rain and dust, customers can now purchase the DPP additional coverage which allows them to have eligible damaged displays replaced at no charge, including shipping.




“These additions will help our customers continue to improve productivity by equipping mobile workers with tablet PCs that enable them to work no matter where work takes them, whether it be the patient bedside or a construction site,” said David Altounian, President and COO of Motion. “Motion continues to develop solutions that improve mobility and complement, not compromise, the rugged design that is critical to professionals that work in harsh or highly mobile environments.”

A variety of features make both the C5 and F5 rugged devices able to withstand the harsh environments often associated with highly mobile workforces.

· A lightweight, magnesium alloy internal frame that delivers structural rigidity

· A rubber Elastomer overmold that adds protection against bumps and drops

· Chemical-resistant resin that is easy to clean/disinfect

· A sealed design to help protect from harsh environmental conditions such as exposure to dust and moisture

· Optional Solid State Drive (SSD) for extreme shock and vibration protection

· Shock-mounted display and hard disk drive (HDD) with DataGuard™, an accelerometer that protects data during drops or other events that could damage the hard drive

· A Motion exclusive thermal management system that protects from data loss

Motion is also announcing the Carry Sleeve, a full-cover case designed specifically for the C5 and F5 that provides a shoulder strap, hand strap and easel for an easy hands-free work environment. The Carry Sleeve is the latest addition to Motion’s in-the-field productivity peripherals that expand options to more easily transport, charge and utilize the C5 and F5 while away from the office or standard docking station. Also available are the:


· Motion Mobile Dock. Offers the convenience of docking in almost any location, such as a vehicle, wall or cabinet, and features full port replication and charging capabilities

· Motion Flex Carry. An attachable, ergonomic solution that provides alternate methods for carrying the devices throughout the workday – it includes shoulder and hand straps and easily fits into the standard docking station for uninterrupted workflows· ReadyDock. A multi-tablet storage and charging station from ATS for optimal space management and workflow improvement.

The F5, the latest tablet PC from Motion, is a rugged, highly mobile PC that provides electronic clipboard functionality and is the ideal productivity tool for field workers who compute and enter data while standing or walking. Its lightweight, rugged design and integrated features provide onsite, real-time productivity in the harshest environments. Mobile professionals across construction, field sales and service, government and insurance are using the F5 because it provides all of the durability and functionality of a rugged PC without the extra weight and price associated with traditional, fully rugged devices.

“The F5 is the ideal tool for our water conservation teams that spend the majority of their time away from the office and are often required to work outside in unpredictable weather environments,” said Ted Calloway, Technology Analyst for Denver Water. “The rugged, fully sealed exterior ensures that the tablet PCs will remain protected despite changing environmental conditions and the lightweight, highly mobile design with convenient tablet input helps our mobile employees be more productive while in the field.”

The C5, the industry’s first MCA developed in collaboration with Intel®, is a hospital-grade device that is proven in healthcare environments. Its rugged, disinfectable design and integrated features provide improved productivity while supporting the five rights of patient care – the right patient, right time, right medication, right dosage and right route. In a series of clinician usability studies conducted with leading healthcare organizations, the C5 has proven to improve point of care documentation, enhance clinician satisfaction, reduce transcription error rates, increase clinician productivity and improve clinical documentation accuracy.

The smart card reader and the EasyConnect USB/Ethernet module are available now, and the Carry Sleeve will begin shipping in October.

Friday, June 06, 2008

FiatLux Visualize™ software previewed on the Motion Computing C5 at SIIM 2008 Annual Meeting


Another great software company developing an application perfect for the tablet PC!


FiatLux Imaging Brings Medical Imaging to Tablet PCs


SEATTLE—May 22, 2008—FiatLux Imaging, Inc., features it’s advanced medical imaging software, FiatLux Visualize, with Motion Computing’s C5 enabling physician bedside discussions with their patients and family regarding the results of their CT/MRI scans and illustrating to patients possible treatment options and plans. FiatLux Visualize, currently under development, is scheduled for release in Summer 2008 promising physicians greater power and access. “Our goal is to provide powerful, intuitive, and affordable advanced medical imaging that's accessible anywhere. Our ability to run on very portable devices like the C5 in addition to the standard desktop/laptop further advances that capability.” said Dr. Brynn Karch, chief medical officer.

Monday, June 02, 2008

TabletPCBuzz is all new just for you

TabletPCBuzz, one of the longest running forums focusing exclusively on Tablet PCs, has relaunched today. Utilizing new forum software, it is easier to search and use. Providing access to over 300,000 posts and covering hardware from Dell and HP to Motion Computing and TabletKiosk, TabletPCBuzz is the best user to user forum for tablet PC users.

Check it out here: www.tabletpcbuzz.com

Friday, May 30, 2008

Motion Computing LE1600 won't charge

Motion Computing LE1600 Tablet PCs occasionally develop a problem where the unit won't charge because the AC adapter port on the right side of the tablet breaks on the inside where it attaches to the motherboard. People that call us about this problem usually think their AC adapter is bad. That has only been the case one time and it was obvious because the cord was damaged. To test whether you have this problem, you can try and charge the tablet via the Convertible Keyboard or FlexDock. If it charges fine using those devices, your problem is the AC adapter port.

Now for the bad news...

Motion used to fix those at their repair facility by soldering the AC port where it separated from the motherboard. Now, they replace the entire motherboard at a cost of around $700 and an average wait time of 2-6 weeks. YIKES!

And some good news...

Allegiance Technology can do the repair for $125 plus the cost of return shipping. This repair may void any warranty you have and is not authorized by Motion in any way. But it sure is faster and cheaper than the alternative. Call 877-772-5587 x3 if you have more questions.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

CBS Corporation To Acquire CNET Networks, Inc.

CBS to Become a Top Ten U.S. Internet Company with Unparalleled Content and Reach, Boasting Approximately 200 Million Monthly Unique Users Worldwide

CNET Networks' CNET, ZDNet, GameSpot.com, TV.com, CNET News, UrbanBaby, BNET, CHOW and Search.com, Among Others, To Be Combined with CBS Corporation's National and Local Interactive Businesses

So how is this tablet PC related? Well, whether you know it or not, a lot of content you see on computer reseller websites comes from CNET. Through various companies and internet properties, you see information provided by them. CNET owns ZDNet, TechRepublic, Search.com and MySimon has a very large footprint in technology and influences what products you see covered.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Another Motion F5 webinar - save $1,000 on a purchase

Our Motion F5 webinar went so well last week (34 attendees) that we are sponsoring another one next Tuesday, May 20th at 2pm EASTERN STANDARD TIME. Attendees will learn about the capabilities of the F5 during a 30 minutes webinar followed by a Q&A session.

Special Introductory Offer - Save $1000 !For a limited time, you can save $1000 off the purchase of one Motion F5 tablet by attending a product overview webinar.

F5 Product Webinars

Tuesday, May 20th, 1:00 pm CST -
Register

The Motion F5 Mobile Field Tool is the first semi-rugged slate PC designed specifically for the mobile field worker that combines durability, mobility and integrated functionality with the benefits and convenience of tablet input. See our
Motion F5 Brochure.
  • Thin and light, about 3 lbs
  • Semi-rugged, field-ready design with convenient, built-in handle
  • Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth® wireless connectivity and optional wireless broadband
  • Natural pen/speech input
  • Integrated digital camera, RFID reader and optional barcode scanner
  • View Anywhere® display for optimal outdoor viewing
  • 3-year field-ready warranty protection

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Clinical Ink automates clinical trials using tablet PCs






(Another in our ongoing series of software programs designed specifically for the tablet PC)

eSource Solutions for Clinical Trials

Clinical Ink offers customized electronic source documents running on tablet PCs—finally, a true eSource solution. Capturing source data on paper is costly and error-prone, but it remains prevalent because of familiarity and a lack of viable alternatives. Clinical Ink™ maintains the workflow and mobility of paper while allowing fast, secure transmission of source data.



Clinical Ink™ offers an eSource solution for clinical trials that provides cleaner data more quickly — saving money by reducing your time to market. Clinical Ink's solution runs on tablet PCs, allowing validated source data to be entered on customized eSource documents that retain the look and feel of paper forms. The data and forms can then be managed, viewed and stored via Clinical Ink's secure web portal.


Clinical Ink's interface is designed with the benefits of pen and paper in mind. Unlike traditional electronic data capture (EDC) systems, Clinical Ink allows you to record comments and explanations, as well as capture the data required by the protocol — all while moving freely from room to room, regardless of connectivity. Clinical Ink provides this ease of use while eliminating the problems with paper source and case report forms.

Source data is validated at the point of capture and seamlessly transmitted (using CDISC standards) to the chosen backend data system. Since there is only one data set, monitors don't need to perform source data verification. Remote viewing of source documents allows monitors to resolve queries from their home office, dramatically reducing monitoring costs. Getting cleaner data more quickly with Clinical Ink results in significant savings.


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Get $1000 off a new rugged Motion F5 Tablet PC

Allegiance Technology and Motion Computing are sponsoring a webinar so that you can learn about the new Motion F5 Field Service Tablet PC. The webinar, which lasted about 45 minutes, will show you how this tablet is a great value as relates to both ruggedness and price. If you decided to purchase an F5 within 30 days, you'll be able to deduct $1,000 from the list price!


The Motion F5 Mobile Field Tool is the first semi-rugged slate PC designed specifically for the mobile field worker that combines durability, mobility and integrated functionality with the benefits and convenience of tablet input. See our Motion F5 Brochure.



  • Thin and light, about 3 lbs

  • Semi-rugged, field-ready design with convenient, built-in handle

  • Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth® wireless connectivity and optional wireless broadband

  • Natural pen/speech input

  • Integrated digital camera, RFID reader and optional barcode scanner

  • View Anywhere® display for optimal outdoor viewing

  • 3-year field-ready warranty protection


Durability Matters



The semi-rugged Motion F5 is designed and tested to fit real-world, field-ready conditions such as bumps, drops or exposure to wind, heat and rain. Built with high quality materials and an internal framing system, the F5 has been optimized to handle challenging work scenarios in the field. The DataGuard™ accelerometer, shock-mounted hard drive and optional SSD drive minimize data loss so when the occasional drop or bump happens, it won’t be the end of your work day. Motion has included a 3-year field-ready warranty that protects against incidents that can occur in the field.


You can sign up for the webinar here.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Logical Ink Tablet PC based EMR software





Electronic Charting Solutions for Healthcare


"Whether you are moving away from paper or looking for a better way to input documents into your EMR, Logical Ink can help. Our unique interface combines an intuitive pen/paper interface of digital ink with the mobility and power of tablet PC. You can easily eliminate scanning and duplicate data entry and extend your EMR to the patient and mobile clinicians. We provide the flexibility, intuitiveness and speed of pen and paper without its limitations. From solutions as simple as electronic signature capture to full point of care documents, we’ve got you covered."


Learn more about Logical Ink


(This post is part of a new, ongoing series designed to highlight software companies that are focusing on tablet PC based solutions).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

One million year old Tablet PC found in Antarctic!


Okay, okay, so this tablet isn't really from the Cenozoic Era. It's the Roper Mobile Duros Tablet PC. We've been selling tablet PCs for a while and have never done much with truly rugged tablets because they were slower, bulkier and more expensive. Well, they are still more expensive but if you are working in an environment where dust and weather are a constant problem or vibration is causing frequent failures, a rugged tablet PC like this one could be just the thing.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Bye, bye, Miss Vista Pie

Well, a true rumor has been making the rounds - Microsoft is no longer going to allow PC makers (including tablet manufacturers) to ship units with Window XP after June 30th. In case you didn't know, June 30th is the end of Microsoft's fiscal year and it is normal for them to end-of-life and product or license program around this time in order to "encourage" customers to upgrade.



So what does this mean for tablet PC owners? Not much unless your software doesn't play well with Vista. Anyway, PC makers will be offering a downgrade path but you'll have to go through the process of converting to XP from Vista yourself using recovery disks.

Get ready!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Bravo Fujitsu!

Back in the day (about two years ago), PC makers always included backup and restore CDs for the operating system and any preloaded software. Now, almost all manufacturers, including Motion, Dell and Lenovo don't include anything. You must purchase CDs as an aftermarket product or create your own when you first get the computer. When you first get a shiny new tablet, creating backup CDs is the last thing you want to do.

Fujitsu, however, includes the CDs (or DVDs for Windows Vista) and even includes the XP disks if you want to downgrade.

I don't know of any other tablet companies that include the disks. Let me know if anyone else deserves kudos.

Motion releases new lower pricing for LE1700 Tablet PC



We just recieved notification that Motion Computing has released new, lower pricing across the board on their LE1700 series Tablet PCs. I think this will allow Motion to capture an even greater share of the slate tablet PC market by bringing prices more in line with convertible tablets. Also, it allows Motion Computing to sell slate tablets into a wider market because customers who were priced out of the tablet PC space can now afford one.

Just one example of the price drop is for their high Core 2 Duo, 2Gb RAM, 80Gb hard drive, View Anywhere screen tablet. Yesterday, the price was $2,605 (good price) and today it is $2,265 (great price).

To see all the new pricing (any maybe buy yourself one), visit our Motion LE1700 page.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Motion release software updates for LE1700 & C5

Motion Computing has released the following software updates to the Motion Support Driver Download web page.

Products: Motion LE1700 Tablet PC and Motion C5

Description:

1) Motion LE1700 BIOS A13 (LE1700 only)

• Improved WWAN card detection.
• Approved WWAN cards are now automatically enabled by default.
• Added PXE Boot (network-based boot) function supporting additional LAN chips.

> Get Motion LE1700 BIOS A13

2) Motion Dashboard Version 5.0.2.3 (LE1700 and C5)

•Dashboard Configuration application allows access to advanced features, which previously required Windows Registry modification.
•Critical Dashboard (Battery Low, etc.) alerts are now centered on the screen and are always on top of any open windows, which replaced the system tray balloons that could be obscured by third party applications.
•Added a manual start button for Battery Conditioning, when the dialog box appears.
•Dock Detection Override is now supported.
•Fixed compatibility issues with multilingual OS.
•Resolved compatibility issues with Cisco VPN clients and Wi-Fi button functions.
•Enhanced the Multi-Display behavior.

> Get Motion Dashboard 5.0.2.3

For all Motion product software drivers click here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Voice Recognition: A True Hit or Total Bull&%$@


Well I have had a copy of Dragon naturally speaking preferred version 8 sitting in my office for some time. I decided to load it on my a tablet PC to see how well it would work. I'm having to do a lot of correction by I know that the more I trained the software the better and will recognize my voice. As you can see this dictation is far from perfect. I will continue to use the tool and see how much improvement there will be over one months time.

Many of my customers are using Dragon naturally speaking voice recognition with a lot of success. It's true that the more you use it the better it works for you so I'm going to stick with my commitment.

Do you use voice recognition? If so, let me know how the results have been for you.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Linux, Xournal and Jarnal - on a Tablet?

A customer is wanting to run their software application on an ultramobile or tablet PC. No problem, I say, these devices can run any software that a standard Windows desktop or laptop.

Says they: We want to run Linux!

Says I: Linux? On a Tablet PC?

Says they: And we need notetaking as well.

Hmmmmmmm...

Actually, I already had some experience with other customers wanting to run Linux on a Tablet PC and I knew that it could be done. TabletKiosk even makes openSUSE Linux an operating system choice for their tablet PCs. But I didn't know of any notetaking software that would provide functionality similar to Windows Journal.

Enter Xournal and Jarnal. These open source software applications have features similar to those provided in Windows Journal but are designed for the Linux operating system. I am exploring the Jarnal program because they say it is better than PDF Annotator - I'll let you know.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Virginia Western professor using tablets to teach mobile programming

Diane Wolff, a professor at Virginia Western, sent me this email:

I got on your list since my husband got a Motion Computing tablet from you for his airplane. Thought I would give you a link to some of the work that I am doing with tablets. I teach college and got a grant from HP for Mobile Programming. With the grant, I got 20 tablets for use in the classroom. I have spent a lot of time creating some tablet tips and tricks also.

Diane and her colleagues have created a list of tablet PC tips and tricks and their website has some other interesting links as well. Check out their site here. Look on the right side for a link to their tablet PC tips.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An improved Windows Vista experience is on the way

So read an email I received today from Microsoft regarding our reseller software updates. It continued:

'We are pleased to inform you that the March 2008 Windows Vista® with Service Pack 1 (SP1) Special Edition Action Pack will begin shipping next week.'

So what does this mean for you? With the release of SP1, Vista is finally ready for your consideration. I know some of you have already upgraded and many others have been using Vista on a new desktop or laptop. Personally, I've stuck with Windows XP Tablet Edition while waiting for this next release of the software. My attitude is to let all the more adventurous folks work out the bugs and I'll move after the first service pack (essentially all the fixes to the first version) comes out.

So, is it time to upgrade? I'll probably upgrade my tablet, but unless you want the fun of upgrading your operating system, wait until you buy your next tablet. Then order it with Vista and enjoy the added benefits.

So, what are the benefits of Vista for tablet pc users?

One thing that can be said for Vista is that it really incorporates significant improvements for tablet PC owners and truly extends the pen and ink capabilities of the platform. Some, like seeing the screen “dimple” when you tap on it, are subtle but make the daily experience of using a tablet PC even better. Others, like the handwriting recognition tool, take not-so-subtle cues from voice recognition software and provide a way to dramatically improve the likelihood that the Tablet Input Panel (TIP) will recognize your handwriting – the more you use it the better it gets.


Handwriting recognition improvements
Being able to personalize the handwriting recognition in Windows Vista increases the ability of the TIP to successfully translate a person’s writing. Every individual holds the pen differently, prints differently, connect the letters in their script differently and it is amazing that the Windows XP TIP could be able to recognize writing without training. With the addition of personalization, Vista adapts the user’s own style and makes recognition more likely by direct reporting of errors when they occur. Also, custom recognizers can be created for other languages or shapes, giving hope to those who use symbols as part of their everyday work.


Automatic learning
This goes hand in hand with handwriting recognition, but is a “behind the scenes” learning of an individual’s writing style without requiring one’s interaction. Automatic learning simultaneously creates a dictionary that adds new words from your documents and email. There is great benefit for people whose writings are filled with industry jargon, abbreviation and acronyms because these are automatically.


TIP tab
Keeping the Tablet Input Panel out of your way without having to dock it or reposition it has long been a detractor from the tablet PC experience. The TIP tab gives users a new way to open and position the TIP on the screen. When the TIP is closed, the tab appears on the left edge of the screen (default setting – you can change this). When you tap it, the TIP slides out from the edge of the screen and you can use it. When you are done, tap it again and it slides out of the way once more. You can also reposition where the hidden TIP is position on the edge of the screen so that it slides out at the same place when you tap it. This is a seemingly simple feature but one that will make working with the Tablet Input Panel much more convenient.


Improved erasing
Once you’ve gotten used to having an eraser on your tablet pen, you expect to be able to use it anywhere. That wasn’t true in the TIP because the eraser just added ink. The scratch out gesture (moving the pain back and forth horizontally three times to erase) is fine but takes some practice and is a challenge for new users. With the Vista TIP, eraser equipped pens can remove ink directly. Also, the scratch out gesture itself has been improved, allowing people to scratch ink out without having to draw perfectly horizontal lines.


AutoComplete
While sometimes using the keyboard version of AutoComplete can be annoying when it unintentionally creates a word you weren’t intending, the majority of the instances it is a big time saver. Now that functionality is built into the Tablet Input Panel. Basically, as you start to write, AutoComplete lists a series of possible matches based on text you’ve entered previously and gives you the opportunity to pick that entry without having to complete writing the word or phrase or URL. Very nice.


Pen Flicks
It’s very possible that pen flicks could have been higher on our list of important improvements to the tablet PC experience. Simply stated, pen flicks are shortcuts for navigation and editing that allow you to move around the screen and documents as well as copy, paste, delete and undo without having to go through multiple steps and pen clicks. Pasting an item doesn’t require you to right lick, select paste, then left click – you can do all that with a simple ‘flick’ of the pen. Another feature is the ability to customize pen flicks for your own shortcuts.


Visual feedback
It can be frustrating for new users to know when they have successfully double clicked on a program they want to open or when they have properly hit the X to close an application. Using the pen on the tablet screen in Vista provides visual cues that lets users know when they have successfully single or double clicked or right clicked. While subtle, this feedback creates a much more comfortable feeling right out of the box.


Touch screen improvements
The relevance of the feature will increase as more tablet PCs come equipped with dual function displays – ones that have both the capabilities of an active digitizer and a touch screen. As go pen flicks, so goes touch flicks on a passive digitizer, enabling you to navigate applications and use shortcuts with a finger or stylus. With a lot of ultra mobile PCs, the small screen size creates challenges in successfully targeting small icons or when attempting to resize a window. The Windows Vista touch pointer floats on the screen just below your finger and has left and right mouse buttons, a drag area and a pointer for overcoming the challenges of tapping small buttons with big fingers.


Snipping Tool
The Snipping Tool, long a great add-in for tablet PC users, allows one to draw around an area of the screen and ‘snip’ it. The object can then be pasted into an email or other document or saved as a file. It is now incorporated directly in the Vista operating system rather than being a separate application.


Voice Recognition
Microsoft is touting a greatly improved voice recognition engine in Vista. While tablet users could use voice recognition previously, it did not have the robust tools for error correction and training that can be found in Dragon Naturally Speaking. For those looking to give voice recognition a try, this may be a significant feature.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Yes, Virgina, we do rent tablet PCs

While you may know about our 48 hour demo program, you may not know that Allegiance Technology also rents Tablet PCs. More and more customers have been asking us for the opportunity to keep a tablet pc for longer periods so they can test software and demonstrate it to others in their company. So for about six months, we’ve been allowing people to extend the tablet pc demo to 2 or 4 weeks.


If you want to rent a tablet PC from us, the rules are the same as the 48 hour demo program. You are responsible for the shipping costs both ways and must sign our lease agreement. We will send you the tablet PC via FedEx 2-day along with a return shipping tag.


As of March 1st, 2008, the cost for a two week tablet pc rental is $160 and a four week tablet pc rental is $320. We have the following tablet PCs available:


  • Sahara i440D by TabletKiosk Pen/Touch Slate Tablet PC

  • Motion LE1700 Slate Tablet PC

  • Motion C5 Medical Tablet PC

  • Fujitsu U810 UltraMobile PC

  • Fujitsu ST5112 Slate Tablet PC

  • Fujitsu T2010 Convertible Tablet PC

  • Fujitsu Convertible Notebook Tablet PC P1610

  • Tablet Kiosk UltraMobile PC eo 7110

  • Amtek T770 UltraMobile PC

  • IBM/Lenovo X61 Tablet PC

  • All the tablet PCs we offer in our rental program have outdoor screens if it is available. For the Motion C5 we also include a docking station. If you need a USB DVD for loading software, please let us know and we can include that. You can load any software onto the tablet PC for testing purposes.


    We can rent you a tablet PC anywhere in the U.S. To get more information about the program, call our office at 877-772-5587 x1. You can find information about our 48 hour demo program here.

    Thursday, March 13, 2008

    How to choose the best Tablet PC (for you)

    Because this is my blog you can correctly assume this is My Humble Opinion. But I do this all day, every day so that is how I based this post. John

    The most frequently asked question on the tablet forums and in calls to our company is: Which Tablet PC should I buy? The answer changes frequently because the technology changes so often. I’ll attempt to answer the question the same way I do for prospective customers.

    First question is always “what do you want to do with your tablet?”. I’m going to answer that based on a couple different scenarios.


    Tablet PC use #1: Field Worker (inspector, appraiser, insurance adjuster, service technician)

    What to buy: A slate tablet PC with outdoor viewable screen and bump case, extra battery, screen protector and car charger. Consider the Motion LE1700 with XGA View Anywhere Display or the Fujitsu ST 5112. If your software is “touch friendly”, the Sahara i440D with Sunlight Viewable Display should be on your short list as well.

    Why a slate: Slate tablet PCs are the most comfortable, lightest weight tablets for walking around a job site, house, building or the outdoors. They are built with ULV (ultra low voltage) processors that require less power and generate less heat. Just because the tablet doesn’t have a keyboard attached doesn’t mean you can’t use it as a desktop – buy a docking station for use at the office.

    How much will I spend: Expect to spend $2,500 - $3,200 depending on the power of the processor, amount of memory and type of accessories purchased. Spending $60 on a screen protector is expensive short term but a great investment over time.

    Tablet PC use #2: Field Sales (executive, real estate agent, outside salesperson)

    What to buy: A convertible tablet PC with high resolution display, docking station or port replicator, executive portfolio, Seize the Day with your Tablet PC book. If you don’t need a DVD all the time for your work, give consideration to the Fujitsu T2010 or Lenovo X61T. If you must have a DVD with you, the Fujitsu T4220 or Toshiba tablets are heavier and bulkier but have this feature.

    Why a convertible: For people who are doing mostly laptop work like writing agreement, working with Microsoft Office documents, taking notes on occasion when in a meeting or with a client a convertible gives you the best of both worlds. This tablet is your laptop when at your desk or working at home but can be flipped around to a notepad when in the boardroom or making notes about a prospective customer.

    How much will I spend: Expect to spend $1,900 - $2,600 for a unit with a powerful processor, 2Gb RAM memory, 100+Gb hard drive and accessories. Get a docking station or port replicator so you can plug in your second monitor, network connection and printer when in the office.

    Tablet PC use #3: Super mobile (travelling executive, doctor, pilot)

    What to buy: Ultra mobile PCs or UMPCs aren’t quite enough for most people yet. Smaller tablet PCs that offer more power and functionality are still the way to go. The Fujitsu P1620 is probably the best all around device combining the best aspects of size, weight, battery life, power and price.

    Why this device: Something is missing in most smaller devices. Either power, screen readability, input choices or quality. The Fujitsu P1620 is the best combination of all these features in a very compact tablet PC.

    How much will I spend: Expect to spend $2,100 - $2,700. Get it with 2Gb and a high capacity battery and you’ll have a very portable, powerful computer to use wherever you need it.

    Tablet PC use #4: Single application use (electronic medical records, service application, manufacturing)

    What to buy: If your use is mobile within a defined space like a medical practice, auto dealership or manufacturing facility and using just one or two applications on the tablet to help your business, a Motion C5 or F5 is your best choice.

    Why a slate with no ports: Keeping the device simple enables it to be a tool rather than a computer. Also, in these kinds of environments where you might want to scan barcoded patient wristbands, medications, automobile vehicle identification numbers or parts, having a built in barcode scanner is better than having to connect a USB or Bluetooth device.

    How much will I spend: Expect to spend $2,200 - $3,200 depending on the configuration. A basic medical tablet (the C5) is at the low end and is perfect if you are running an EMR application that is server based. Those in a dirtier environment where dust particles and splashing can be a problem, like doing inspections of an assembly line or check-in at an auto repair garage, should choose the Motion F5 which is rated for this kind of situation.


    OF COURSE THERE ARE OTHER SCENARIOS and just because I put certain people into a particular category shouldn't stop you from considering another type of device. But when people ask me the question, they expect some guidance so they can make a good decision. I appreciate your comments and feedback and would be happy to include your well reasoned point of view as part of these recommendations.

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008

    One of our partners, Vela Systems, recently completed a Case Study that discussess how one of their clients, William A. Berry & Son, is using their Safety Module and Tablet PCs.

    They are using the Motion Computing LE1700 Core 2 Duo Tablet PC. Here are selections from the writeup:

    “We can see the screen clearly whether we’re outside in full sun or inside a building,” said Michael Willett, project director for the Brigham and Women’s Hospital new cardiovascular center in downtown Boston. “And because we can write directly on the screen with a special pen, it feels a lot like using pencil and paper, which makes it easy to learn.”

    “The field staff loves Vela because it’s so easy to use. We go to the area, take care of the inspection, make notes right on the Tablet and, if we’re interrupted, as frequently happens, we can pull the information right back up."

    If you are in the Commercial Construction industry and want to learn more about Vela Systems software, you can visit the Construction section of our website. You can download the entire Case Study here.

    Here is a short video showing how another Vela customer is using the tablet while converting a jail to a hotel in Boston:

    More from Josh Kanner at Vela Systems:

    Great post, John. You may also want to link to the youtube movies about safety (new), here
    http://www.velasystems.com/Testimonials.html

    Also, folks can sign up to view the safety webinar. It was recorded and is available online.
    https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/153978020

    A better, faster M1400 pen...


    OK, so it is not really faster. It is better, though.


    We've had replacement M1400 pens for the Motion tablet on order for months and months - they never come in. So in the meantime, we've found out that the stylus pen for the Fujitsu T4220/4215 fits the pen bay from the M1400 perfectly. Also, since the Fujitsu stylus pen has a tab on it like the Motion pen, it won't get stuck in the bay like a standard Wacom pen.


    The best part is that, unlike the original M1400 pen, the Fujitsu replacement has an eraser! If you find yourself in need of replacement pens for your M-series tablet (they come in 2-packs), you can order them here.


    Keep in mind that ANY tablet PC pen for an active digitizer will work on any other tablet.

    Monday, March 10, 2008

    Tablet PCs and QuickBooks - Perfect Together


    "I am not going to need to pay for 2 seats of Quickbooks any more. You just saved me 200 bucks. I'll be contacting you when I'm ready to get that tablet pc."


    Talking to a prospective customer today made me think of all the people who are small business owners and use QuickBooks for their accounting software. That includes my company - we have a 5 user version of QB which we use internally.


    So what does accounting software have to do with Tablet PCs?


    Many small business people use QB for quotes and work orders in the field. While QB can run on a tablet PC the same way it does on any other computer, there are security issues with having it on a mobile computer as well as backup concerns. To run even a multi-user version on a tablet requires the transferring of a lot of data (the most recent QB file) and this can be very slow over a wireless or even a broadband connection. The solution is LogMeIn, a free software program that lets you log onto another computer remotely and control it as if you were sitting at the keyboard. The major advantage for QB users is that since the data file doesn't have to be sent over the internet and updated with every change, the person can make changes to QB very quickly. The gentleman who gave me the quote was using a 2 user version of QB and waiting for quite some time when using the program from the field. Now, he can access his accounting data, creates quotes and invoices, and know that his data is secured and backed up in the office rather than on a mobile device.

    Thursday, March 06, 2008

    Speaking of rugged Motion tablets...


    While searching for a different accessory, I found that the Motion Protective Case (same as the Fujitsu ST5112 Otterbox but with different rubber fittings so you can't use this one for the Fujitsu) was on sale for $49.99. Big news considering this case is normally $259.99.


    The up side of this case? Nearly waterproof and dustproof plus very hard to break when in the case. Also comes with a nice, comfortable, heavy duty strap. I just wish this one came in bright yellow like the Otterbox - construction guys love yellow!


    Anyway, I've been told by a little birdie that they are clearing out inventory so I'm not sure how long this will last. If you want one, click here.

    Pimp your ride with an F5


    RAM Mounts now offers a vehicle mounting solution for the Motion Computing F5 Tablet PC. It will work with the Motion C5 as well, but who wants to lookup electronic medical records in their car? Although maybe you could use this to mount it on a golf cart!


    OK, hopefully when your on the links you don't have to do so much work. If you want to see the more information about how your business can use this to mount tablets in a work truck, van or car, visit Ram Mounts. They have mounts for a bunch of tablets. You can find more information at their website.

    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    OneNote Tip: Favorites Powertoy

    If you have certain pages that you reference frequently, you might like to have a Favorites list. This powertoy is designed to give you the Favorites capability you find in Internet Explorer so it is very easy to use.

    Even better, the folks at GottaBeMobile have done a short video on how to use it.

    For more information, visit the OneNote Testing site.

    Monday, March 03, 2008

    Motion ready to get their (clients) hands dirty


    Today, Motion announced the latest edition to their lineup of tablet PCs, the F5. This semi-rugged tablet is designed to meet the needs of workers who are in the field doing true mobile computing. My company has been increasingly focused on designing solutions for folks in the construction, HVAC, plumbing, electrical and related businesses so Ii think that it is a good time for this kind of device. While a tablet PC and related software is still a significant investment, the F5 provides a much better value than a Panasonic Toughbook or Itronix DuoTouch. Those are great tablets, but are bulkier, heavier, more expensive and use older technology.



    So can a business owner justify the cost of a semi-rugged tablet PC, forms software, maintenance and training? Let's see:


    Cost of a F5: $3,400 (includes Sprint broadband, car charger and bump case)

    Sprint service: $40/month

    Active Ink software client: $129

    Forms design/implementation/training: $4,000


    If a business with 5 technicians were to buy 5 tablet bundles ($3,400 x 5 = $17,000) and pay for Sprint broadband ($40/month for 36 months x 5 techs = $7,200) and Active Ink software licenses (5 x $129 = $645) along with the forms, implementation of the solution and on-site training the total investment over three years would be $28,445. Under a lease, the monthly cost per techncian is only $180.


    The question is whether a business can recoup an investment of $180/month. With a solution like this, an owner would get many advantages:


    1. True paperless environment - Using an electronic forms system to complete paperwork saves time and increases accuracy. With the manager or dispatcher filling out the top of a work order and emailing it to the tech, the office could make sure the customer info is accurate and reduce the amount of form filling the tech needs to do.


    2. Mapping - When the tech receives the email with the work order, it is automatically linked to Google maps to guide him to the client's address with no lost time.


    3. Signature capture - By having the client sign the work order, the business has verification that the tech completed the work and that the customer has agreed to pay.


    4. By completing the balance of the paperwork at the customer's site using a form with checkboxes, dropdowns and a space for the client to sign, techs will easily complete the work order and immediately email it back to the office for review.


    5. With the completed form back at the office just minutes after the service is complete, the manager can review the work order for completeness and then automatically create an invoice in their accounting software. There is no manually entry and the invoice can be sent to the client the same day.


    This appears to be quite a fair investment per month considering the savings in time, the increase in accuracy, and the ability to bill the customer immediately after the work is completed. Let me know what you think.

    Friday, February 29, 2008

    US News & World Report article about Tablet PC demand

    Tablet Tales
    Demand for tablet PCs is going up. What are the latest features?


    Posted February 28, 2008

    John Hill got so jazzed about using a tablet computer that he started a business to sell them five years ago. "Tablet PCs always get called a niche market," says Hill, 40, founder and president of Allegiance Technology in Horsham, Pennsylvania. "But we sell them to all kinds of people: teachers, construction managers, pilots, someone who inspects yachts, even a cowboy who uses a tablet to write down numbers while sitting on the back of his horse."

    Allegiance specializes in both slate tablets, which require a pen for taking notes or choosing menu items, and their convertible cousins, which accept both pen and keyboard input. Hill believes tablets are best for entrepreneurs who spend a lot of time in the field or who take lots of notes during meetings that need to be shared. Convertibles offer the best of both worlds for those who divide their time between the field and a desk.
    Allegiance customer Dom DiJulia, 39, who owns a New Hope, Pennsylvania-based golf instruction business, uses his tablet out on the links to take notes about students and create videos of their swings, which he captures with a Canon video recorder and saves directly to the tablet's hard drive. "I plan to add another one so my other instructors can do this," he says.


    READ THE FULL ARTICLE

    Thursday, February 28, 2008

    Solution for handwriting recognition if you use RDP

    Only a small percentage of tablets users access their network over Citrix or RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol), but if you do then you cannot use the Microsoft TIP (Tablet Input Panel) for handwriting. Usually, you can bring the TIP up and tap on the keyboard, but handwriting doesn't get entered into the RDP window.





    A solution has been around for some time, but a client reminded me about it today so I'm sharing it with you. ritePen from EverNote is an alternative to the Microsoft tablet input panel. In addition, ritePen gives you the ability to "write anywhere", a feature found in the first version of the MS TIP but subsequently removed. Using the Write Anywhere feature, you can ink directly into a document and have it converted to text without first entering it into a special area like the tablet input panel.





    ritePen costs only $29.95 and more information is available at their website.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2008

    Do you really need a rugged tablet?

    Because I work with a lot of people in the construction, inspection, field service and other "dirt under the fingernails" industries, many prospective customers are concerned that they need a rugged tablet like the Panasonic ToughBook to survive their environment.


    I've found that spending the extra money is not worthwhile except in the most extreme environments. Most of our clients are using slate Tablet PCs from Motion Computing, Fujitsu or TabletKiosk that are not billed as rugged but still have features that make them durable. With shock mounted hard drives, screen protectors and bump cases that have shoulder straps and handles, use in the field isn't what causes breakage. My experience is that most times it takes a significant force to cause damage. Recent causes include leaving the tablet on top of a car and driving off, dropping a paint can off a ladder onto the screen and leaving it in the trunk where it got hit by a loose item (one of my own employees!).


    Even if something happens to the screen, the tablet invariably continues to work just fine (except for the one where it was left on the car because after it fell off it was run over by another car). Screen repair on a Fujitsu or Motion is around $700 while the Sahra is only $300. I'm not sure why Sahara is less but it was good news for a recent client.


    If you truly need a ruggedized device, the OtterBox case can be used with the Fujitsu and Motion tablets. It adds bulk and weight but can be used in dusty, wet environments where a standard bump case just won't do.


    Monday, February 25, 2008

    Automatic backup made easy



    I have been looking for a truly simple, straightforward backup solution for several years. All of the ones I had seen required some intervention to make the backup work. I had to choose which files to backup, or load some software onto my computer, or trust my data to an online storage company. While my email, accounting and customer data are backed up daily via our company server, all the other files on my tablet like attachments and photos and PowerPoints required a manual process.

    At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, I checked out an automatic backup system called GoClickFree and was so impressed I bought one to try out. Here is how it works:

    1. Make sure your computer is on
    2. Plug the device into a USB port
    3. After the device installs itself, it backs up all your data files
    4. Unplug it and put it in a safe place

    I did the above when it arrived the other day and it automatically backed up the 16Gb of data files (it doesn't do program files but you could set it for that - those are better reloaded from the original CDs if your tablet is lost, stolen or crashed). The inital backup is the longest because after that, GoClickFree just backs up files that have changed. My initial backup took just over one hour and I was able to work easily (albeit a little slow) while the backup worked in the background.
    A VERY COOL FEATURE IS that after the majority of the backup was complete, a message came up on the screen advising me that several open applications were about to be backed up and would be unavailable for a short time (just 1-2 minutes for me). This is great because if you have a just completed PowerPoint or new spreadsheet or never close your Outlook (like me), the device still backs those items up for you.







    Not trusting the backup, I wanted to see exactly what was and wasn't there. First, I looked at the summary of files that the device backed up.




    Next, I used Google Desktop to search for spreadsheets on my computer and on the GoClickFree device (which containes a 120Gb hard drive). Google Desktop found the same files, whether they were on my desktop, in My Documents or elsewhere on the hard drive. So did the GoClickFree device. Yeah!
    Restoring files is nearly as easy. If you need to restore everything due to a hardware crash, that is a single click on Restore All. If you need to restore a single file, you must navigate to the folder and file you want to restore. You can then put it in the folder where you want it or restore it to another location.
    For just $169, I think this is a great value because it is so simple. The device fits in a short pocket or small purse. THE BEST PART is that the software is all on the device - you load NOTHING on your tablet. And if your tablet (or laptop) gets lost/stolen/damaged, there is no software to load before you restore - just plug the device in and let 'er rip.
    If you want one of these, we now have them on our website.